Sunday, December 29, 2013


Let's Use the Day

Horace, Epode 13, tr. Thomas Creech, The Odes, Satyrs, and Epistles of Horace. Done into English (London: Jacob Tonson, 1684), pp. 174-175 (line numbers added):
He adviseth his Friends to pass their time merrily.

Dark Clouds have thickned all the Sky,
    And Jove descends in Rain;
With frightful noise rough Storms do fly
Thro Seas and Woods, and humble Plain.

My noble Friends the Day perswades,        5
    Come, come, let's use the Day;
Whilst we are strong, e're Age invades,
Let Mirth our coming Years delay:

Put briskly round the noble Wine,
    And leave the rest to Fate;        10
Jove, chance, will make the Evening shine,
And bring it to a clearer State:

Now, now your fragrant Odors spread,
    Your merry Harps prepare;
'Tis time to cleanse my aking Head,        15
And purge my drooping thoughts from Care.

Thus Chiron sang in lofty Strain
    And taught Achilles Youth;
Great Thetis Son, the Pride of Man,
Observe, I tell thee fatal Truth:        20

Thee, thee for Troy the Gods design
    Where Simois Streams do play,
Scamander's thro the Vallies twine,
And softly eat their easy way:

And there thy thread of Life must end        25
    Drawn o're the Trojan Plain,
In vain her Waves shall Thetis send
To bear Thee back to Greece again:

Therefore, Great Son, my Precepts hear;
    Let Mirth, and Wine, and Sport,        30
And merry Talk divert thy Care,
And make Life pleasant since 'tis short.
11 chance: perchance

The Latin:
Horrida tempestas caelum contraxit et imbres
    nivesque deducunt Iovem; nunc mare, nunc silvae
Threicio Aquilone sonant: rapiamus, amici,
    occasionem de die, dumque virent genua
et decet, obducta solvatur fronte senectus.        5
    tu vina Torquato move consule pressa meo.
cetera mitte loqui: deus haec fortasse benigna
    reducet in sedem vice. nunc et Achaemenio
perfundi nardo iuvat et fide Cyllenea
    levare diris pectora sollicitudinibus;        10
nobilis ut grandi cecinit Centaurus alumno:
    'invicte, mortalis dea nate puer Thetide,
te manet Assaraci tellus, quam frigida parvi
    findunt Scamandri flumina lubricus et Simois,
unde tibi reditum certo subtemine Parcae        15
    rupere, nec mater domum caerula te revehet.
illic omne malum vino cantuque levato,
    deformis aegrimoniae dulcibus alloquiis.'
Summary in Lindsay C. Watson, A Commentary on Horace's Epodes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 417:
A storm is raging, bringing with it rain, snow, and wind. Let us seize the opportunity offered by the weather to dispel our cares with wine and song—fitting behaviour for young men such as us. Perhaps our fortunes may take a turn for the better. Achilles' teacher Chiron similarly advised him, when he should come to Troyland, there to assuage his misfortune with song and drinking.

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